Audience favorite Prenger won the BBC-TV reality competition "I'd Do Anything," which cast both the role of Nancy and the title role of the orphaned Oliver. As previously announced, the three young actors who will alternate in the role of Oliver are 11-year-old Gwion Jones from Carmarthenshire, 12-year-old Harry Stott from Oxfordshire and 11-year-old Laurence Jeffcoate from Cheshire. Oliver! will mark the West End debut for Jodie Prenger. Prenger has previously performed on a Disney cruise ship and on the cabaret circuit in Blackpool.
Upon winning the role, 28-year-old Prenger, according to the "I'd Do Anything" website, said, "Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, I'm just so chuffed!"
Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, one of the judges on the reality series, said Prenger was "the people's Nancy. Jodie was always going to be the people's choice." Producer Mackintosh added, "I'm thrilled for Jodie, congratulations!"
Prenger's competitors in the final round included 18-year-old Jessie Buckley from County Kerry and 17-year-old Samantha Barks from the Isle of Man. The other judges included John Barrowman, Denise Van Outen and Barry Humphries.
Whether Prenger will perform all eight shows a week remains a mystery. According to the official Oliver! website (www.oliverthemusical.com), "the winning Nancy is scheduled to perform on Monday and Tuesday evenings, Wednesday matinees and Friday evenings. Until the show opens in December we cannot make a final decision on any additional performances."
Oliver! will star Rowan Atkinson as Fagin. The production will open at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on Jan. 14, 2009, following previews from Dec. 12.
To book tickets, call the box office at 0844 412 2955 or visit www.oliverthemusical.com.